State Sen. Bowie Visits Tempe Chamber Businesses

by Christopher Samuels

In an afternoon tour of Tempe Chamber of Commerce businesses last week, state Sen. Sean Bowie (D-18) pledged support for businesses in his district and proposed new legislation that could create a larger pipeline of skilled workers.

The senator stopped by four south Tempe businesses, with employee numbers ranging from 14 to 6,400. The businesses were Insight, a technology services corporation; C2 Tactical, a full-service gun store and firing range; Caliente Construction, a building and construction company; and Special Moments Catering, which runs a successful catering and boxed-lunch business.

The senator made stops at Tempe Chamber businesses to meet with business leaders and encourage participation in the upcoming legislative session, which will begin Monday, January 8. Bowie remarked at the rapid growth of economic development and expansion in Tempe.

“Seeing how great they are doing, how their employees are doing, I just really enjoy having the opportunity to meet with them and find out how I can be helpful at the Capitol,” the senator said. “I think it’s really important for business owners and people in the business community to know their legislators. Having us come to visit their offices is great and it gives us a chance to know them, but really, we want to be helpful to our constituents and to the businesses in our communities.”

The businesses presented a variety of legislative issues to Bowie in advance of the spring session. Among the issues discussed was the legislature’s intent to work on a tax treatment of goods and services, upon which Sen. Bowie is a member of an ad-hoc committee designed to study the current law and adapt it for current and future technology needs.

Other points of emphasis were education funding, personal gun safety, the transaction privilege tax for prime contractors and the minimum wage and paid sick time law enacted by the passing of Proposition 206 in the 2016 election.

While on the tour, Bowie shared a proposed bill that looks to provide further education for tradecraft. The yet-to-be-named bill proposes a scholarship fund to award students who study career and technical education (CTE) in community colleges across the state. CTE programs, according to the state’s department of education, are occupational programs that specifically work toward a professional degree, such as tradecraft, engineering, healthcare or service specialties.

Funding for the proposed bill would require $10 million in business contributions, according to Bowie. If that funding is achieved, the remaining $5 million will come from the state budget. The scholarships will be available for low- and medium-income families, and will cover two years of education for in-state students at a public community college in a CTE program.

“I think [the bill] could have a huge impact,” the senator said. “I think having more young people choosing these professions and careers, going into those fields is going to have a big impact on a lot of businesses here in Tempe in the construction industry [and in] a lot of the trades. I think it could have an impact if we can get it through the legislature.”

Sen. Bowie stated the bill has bipartisan support and is hopeful it could become law during the upcoming session.

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